Taken: March 24th, 2008 in Monroe at the Reptile Zoo.
The Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) is the largest freshwater turtle in the world. It is a larger and slightly less aggressive relative of the Common Snapping Turtle.
The alligator snapping turtle is characterized by a large, heavy head and a long, thick tail with three dorsal ridges of large scales (osteoderms) giving it a primitive appearance reminiscent of some of the plated dinosaurs. They can be immediately distinguished from the common snapper by the three distinct rows of spikes and raised plates on the carapace, whereas the common snapper has a smoother carapace. They are a solid gray, brown, black, or olive-green in color, and often covered with algae. They have radiating yellow patterns around the eyes, serving to break up the outline of the eye and keep the turtle camouflaged. Their eyes are also surrounded by a star-shaped arrangement of fleshy filamentous "eyelashes."
There is an unverified report of a 403-pound alligator snapping turtle found in the Neosho River in Kansas in 1937, but the largest one actually on record is 236 lb, and housed at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois. They generally do not grow quite that large. Average adult size is around 26 inches shell length with a weight of 175 lb. Males are typically larger than females